Steep Rise in Heroin Overdoses Across Nation

Lex Minnick, Business Manager / Staff Reporter

Heroin use, and therefore accidental overdose is on the rise all over the country, including here in the North Country.  But Chicago is one of many places experiencing drug usage at an all time high. Over 74 overdoses occurred within 72 hours this past weekend.

Investigators are finding that the heroin is possibly laced with Fentanyl, an intense painkiller. CBS News interviewed Dr. Nathan who said, “Fentanyl is 30 times more potent than heroin.”

This drug mixed with heroin has side effects which are resulting in an extreme number of deaths.  This outbreak in Chicago is one of the worst to arise within the past 10 years.

Police are investing the deaths and trying to figure out if the heroin has been laced officially throughout the most recent deaths. Most of the drugs had been sold on West Side.

Among the many deaths nationwide was Brandon Holden, only 23 years old and probably not thinking he would be the next one to die. He was found in a convenience store bathroom in Staten Island, New York where a needle had been inserted in his arm.

Arrests have been made relating to the heroin overdoses. Two previous gang members were arrested when the Chicago police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration were searching around for the basis of the drug issue.

Two men, who the Chicago Tribune identified as Alfonzo Sylvester and Mario Wofford, attempted to sell drugs to an undercover police officer. There was over $700 worth of heroin in the attempted sale.

Along with Chicago, Taunton Massachusetts has been noticing an increase in drug use and overdosage. 25 people were arrested for drug charges dealing with heroin and fentanyl in a trafficking issue in the area.

Just this year, 150 drug overdoses have occurred in the area of Taunton.

Heroin distribution networks are also an issue in the Taunton area. 17 people were charged with federal indictments related to just one of the networking systems.

Police Departments are continuously working hard to decrease drug usage around the world; in the case of heroin their efforts are, politics aside, literally about saving lives.

[Image: Doctors have developed Naloxone, an opiate overdose response drug that can “cancel out” an overdose of heroin and other drugs in that family if given within a certain window.  Although availability of Naxalone is increasing for emergency responders, overdose victims too often are unable to, or won’t call 911.]